About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action – helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by the Middle East, since 1989 Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.
Mercy Corps has worked across Iraq’s 18 governorates since 2003, implementing relief and development programming, more than a third of which has focused on the specific needs of refugees and displaced persons. Mercy Corps Iraq current goal is to work with new and existing civil society, public and private sector partners to meet immediate and long-term needs by strengthening communities’ ability to rebuild amidst increasing crisis. Mercy Corps Iraq focuses on (1) a relief-to-resilience pathway to meet the needs of conflict-affected communities leveraging agency expertise in conflict management and civil society development (2) a humanitarian response that empowers conflict-affected populations to meet their own needs (3) partnering with conflict-affected adolescents to address their diverse needs, promoting leadership and linkages with civil society.
General Position Summary
The Program Advisor High Risk Environment (PA) has responsibilities primarily related to 1) safety of team members and 2) operational & access strategies for Mercy Corps programs across Iraq. This position must maintain an acute awareness of the context and all threats as they relate to Mercy Corps operations. S/he will provide the program, logistics and management teams with up-to-date briefings, analysis and engage as a thought partner in finding solutions to safely and effectively reach people in need with humanitarian assistance. This person is expected to have a strong understanding of program management, logistical capacities and humanitarian values. S/he he is expected to apply these and other leadership qualities with the Mercy Corps team in Iraq. S/he will also advise the Country Director on operational security measures and manage a team to document, train and implement security management planning. Lastly, this position will interact, as directed, with the regional and global teams in analysis, advocacy and context updates.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Program access & analysis
- Maintains a strong understanding of the context in Iraq (political, legal , social / tribal and conflict). Identify access opportunities for Mercy Corps to reach civilians in need of humanitarian assistance.
- Follow all program objectives and activities closely. Collaborate closely with program & country leadership to find daily and long-term strategies in the evolving context.
- Prepare and contribute to the weekly report and assist on larger thematic outputs and reports led by the Policy Advocacy, HAT and other teams.
- Ensure analysis trends and forecasting are brought in to security and program planning. Support the overall continuation of a culture of a team, which is highly aware of the context.
- Follow the political and conflict environment and develop and understanding of regional politics, events and how these relate to security and acceptance strategies.
- Learn and monitor the environment. Track incidents and trends in Iraq, mapping the incidents. Coordinate with counterpart security team members to understand larger trends and forecasting.
- Is responsible to update and implement MC security plan for Iraq across all locations. Conduct training and briefings to all staff through routine meetings and written reports. Ensure all expatriates and new team members are provided a security briefing within the first 24 hours in service. Coordinate with Human Resources on this.
- Ensures the safety team contributes and maintains current tracking, mapping and automated reporting systems of security incidents and updates for a comprehensive view on events & trends in the region.
- Routine communication with program team members in daily and routine briefings to ensure the larger Mercy Corps team is fully aware of the context (political, social, security and humanitarian)
- Primary person responsible for all flash reporting and incident management. Is responsible for the documentation and analysis of all incidents.
- Conduct safety assessments either in work locations either directly or remotely. Is responsible for maintaining updated risk assessments and security strategies.
- Work across departments on community acceptance and government engagement messaging and other operational strategies.
- Is considered part of senior management for this office and a core member of a crisis management team.
- Help create and environment where Mercy Corps all Mercy Corps programs and team members and business are conducted with professionalism, impartiality, accountability and other core principles required as a humanitarian agency.
- Place high value on inter-agency coordination in security; encourage Mercy Corps field-level coordination in the NGO community. Seek opportunities for formal and informal cooperation;
Security Systems & Capacity Building
- Coach and mentor local team to fulfill their roles in safety & security management, conducting assessment and other required work.
- As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve – we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Supervises the safety and security officers in Iraq
- Reports directly to: Country Director Iraq
- Works directly with: Program Director & teams, Operations Management and team, HAT Team, Regional and the greater, security team for Iraq
Knowledge and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, Master’s degree or equivalent is preferred.
- 3-5 years field experience in safety and security with a humanitarian or development non-governmental organization. Experience in security management in conflict setting is desired.
- Formal security qualification or advanced security management training
- Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns, and appropriate responses to such emergencies. Good context analysis skills.
- Experience of incident reporting, incident mapping, intelligence collation and analysis functions, set up and execution of an incident warning system (warden system), compilation of security reports and assessments
- Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching and ability to work in with team from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- Excellent planning, coordination and reporting skills, with the ability to organize a substantial workload comprised of complex, diverse tasks and responsibilities, and present complex information in succinct and compelling manner
- Competency in Internet and Microsoft Office systems including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and other database/mapping systems
- Experience living and working in the Middle East region, preferred.
- English proficiency required, knowledge of Arabic language strongly preferred.
The Program Advisor – High Risk Environments will enable the Mercy Corps team in Iraq to more effectively provide humanitarian relief to civilians affected by the conflict with 1) speed 2) strategy 3) duty of care. A successful candidate will be able to follow and read the quickly changing conflict and understand the political landscape to better plan and forecast. S/he will help the Country Director create an environment of a well-trained staff with a strong, contextual awareness. The Mercy Corps office and programs will be fit for purpose and with a culture of safety-mindedness across departments. S/he will network and communicate frequently with counterparts in the region for a comprehensive portrayal of security and access.
This position is based in Baghdad, Iraq and is unaccompanied. This location is eligible for hardship allowance and R&R breaks. Travel within Iraq is required to support Mercy Corps Iraq’s offices and programs. Living conditions are in group housing: water, electricity and internet are present with some cuts.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.